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Eyes of the Father: Passage of time can vary in eternity
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"For hours" is Chloe's new saying when she's bored. She uses the phrase in the following contexts: "We've been driving for hours." "We've been watching this movie for hours" (depending on what the movie's about, I may actually agree with her assessment).

She draws out the last two words to display just how long she thinks it's been. Typically, the "for hours" she's talking about has actually been no more than 10 or 15 minutes. But at Chloe's age, she has no concept of time.

Neither do we, really.

Don't get me wrong. If I'm standing in line or holding on the telephone, I have a very clear understanding of the passage of time. In most cases, I can even pinpoint how much time has passed with pretty decent accuracy.

But there's a personal perception about the passage of time, isn't there? If I'm in an electronics store for an hour, I know an hour's passed, but I couldn't care less. If I'm in a department store with Amy while she's shopping for shoes, I know an hour's passed, but it seems like a much longer time.

The Bible doesn't really tell us when measured time began, but it does tell us when measured time will end: never. The Bible refers to this never-ending time period as eternity.

When the time comes for us to leave this earth, we enter into an existence that will continue forever. This existence will be spent in one of two places: heaven or hell. Heaven is a reward for the faithful (Matthew 25:34-40), while hell is a punishment for the unfaithful (Matthew 25:41-46).

Although the Bible doesn't specifically address this, I wonder what my response to an eternity in heaven will be. I have an idea it'll be similar to my response of enjoyable events here on earth. Will I notice the passage of time? Quite possibly. Will it seem like it's going by quickly, or slowly? I imagine it would seem to go by quickly, as do all things that are enjoyable to me.

But what about hell? For those who will go into eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), I imagine it would be a most unenjoyable experience. Would that make the passage of eternity seem even longer? I imagine it would.

Our choice is clear. Accept Christ or reject him. As a result, we are also accepting an eternity in heaven or an eternity in hell.

Make no mistake: Hell doesn't last "for hours." It lasts forever.

Parrish Myers is a local minister whose columns appear biweekly on Sundays and at